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Thanks as usual to our splendid commentariat for the great response on yesterday’s fabric-jacketed power cable post. Thanks especially to Travis, Will, and MAKE cover boy Jake von Slatt for sharing some of the DIY methods for fabric cord sheathing.

Jake used braided loom from shoelaces to cover the short, narrow mic cord on this beautiful custom Steampunk microphone commission, while the larger patch cord from the base is sheathed in braid stripped from a climbing rope bought at a sporting goods store. There’s some debate about the safety of using the DIY methods on lamp or appliance power cords, but for low-power signal cables like these it’s hard to imagine any risk.

Girl Genius Theatre Microphone | The Steampunk Workshop

More:
How-To: Cloth Covered Banana Cables

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


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Comments

  1. It looks like you can get Kevlar shoelaces, at least in the U.S. I wonder if that would make for not only a very strong cable sheath, but also a fire-resistant one? Can you get Kevlar braided climbing ropes, too? I expect they’d be more expensive, of course!

  2. Bill Tuttle says:

    If you are looking for cloth covered wire, you can try http://www.sundialwire.com/ – They have a number of styles, gauges & colors for doing restorations. No connect, just have used them for some of my projects.

  3. alandove says:

    Paracord sheath would probably work well for this, too.

  4. John Galt III says:

    A compelling reason to use fabric covers on cords is that the phthalates used to plasticize PVC (essentially all wire insulation) are endocrine disruptors that have dark effects on human health. See for example:

    http://thefern.org/2012/04/if-food-is-in-plastic-whats-in-the-food/

    There is as much additional information, misinformation and disinformation on the web as you care to sift.

    The Europeans are going to ban the toxic phthalates in 2015. Unfortunately, the vendors here in the US are not proactive so we have no help in migrating our products away from poisons.

  5. Jeff says:

    I can’t seem to find the black with sparse white flecks that I’ve seen in most old fabric sheathing, but retro-fidelity-aside, these cords are just lovely and will add a lot of “ooh pretty” cred to projects!
    Something else to consider is detachable power cords– I only design projects with mains inputs using standard 3-conductor IEC connectors, like your computer’s power supply, and consider it a bonus feature when appliance manufacturers do the same.
    Fabric-covered IEC cords seem to be available from at least one manufacturer:
    http://www.atlascables.com/eos-4sq-mm-16amp-iec.html

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